Our lives are supported by a vast global economic and financial system which is unsustainable.
Bye-bye... I guess.
If the internet goes down, and the grid, so do groceries, fuel supplies and water systems.
Murphy's law says that "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong."
Accept that postulate?
Small systems form spontaneously out of shared efficiencies. Each participant does better with the same amount of work inside the system.
These efficient small systems are energy efficient. That's why they form, and they are stable while the original conditions persist.
Small efficient systems can grow larger, when there is enough energy and other physical substrate to allow that expansion.
The growth requires additional energy and resources above the steady state, and as the larger system becomes more spread out and complex, further energy resources are required to coordinate and control it.
The burden of the coordination and control grows as the size and complexity of the system grows, until it consumes more energy and resources than the primary function that began the system.
As more of the system becomes dedicated to the control and maintenance of the system, that becomes the primary purpose of the system (at least in human systems).
The controlling and organizing elements of the system, the deciders, are primarily engaged in keeping the system they control, intact and under their control.
In America, the system that was most fundamentally formed to feed citizens as they farmed their way across the continent and destroyed smaller native American support systems, has become a global nuclear, financial, energy, commodity-trading empire that feeds people as a basic cost of controlling them and assuring their obedience within the system.
What the global military-financial empire has done since winning absolute victory is to practice the Wolfowitz Doctrine, which is to kill any potential future rival in the cradle. Russia and China grew back. Iran was never completely dead, Turkey is growing away,...
The Petro-dollar is on shaky ground. Really, the US military threat, and systemic inertia are what supports dollar hegemony. Imperial control of pipelines is critical going forward. Pipelines are perfect control choke points to control people and industry and the resources they need to survive. They can be forced to support the hungry system.
Pipelines carry oil, water and natural gas. Syrian war has been fought over natural gas pipelines. The Saudi pipeline lost. The Iranian pipeline is not yet built.
Here is a Mediterranean pipeline war brewing, maybe just some more "conflict".
Notice how so many of these projects involve Turkey? Israel?
The complexity of the $US based global financial system is vast, corrupt, horribly wasteful for the primary purpose of supplying the economic needs of human families and communities, but completely invested in maintaining the system itself. Market instability was a systemic threat, so markets have been replaced with controlled pseudo-markets. You can't fight the Fed! You can't lose in an indexed-fund invested in stocks. They keep going up. Part of the price of that is that companies borrow money at (low) interest to buy back their own stock and increase it's price, so their executives can sell shares and skim billions in value from the productive part of the company.
That sustains the system of control, in it's current ersatz form, until... "The Next Financial Crisis", because things just all became the same kind of broken, and unfixable without breaking the system, which is anathema. https://www.truthdig.com/articles/next-financial-crisis-will-worse-last-one/
The system has a gun to my head. Yours, too. Still, I can grow vegetables, consider a little homestead with a well and a propane tank, some solar cells to pump water and keep a night-light, and things like that. I have a pen, ruler and graph paper, and books, and I still have the internet and electricity, and some life left in me.
I have a little bit of spare resource, and will have a little more at some time.
I am communicating with you. Maybe that can help us both some day.
Human societies and empires have broken and reorganized into smaller, more inherently stable economic units before.
Dunbar's Number is about 150. That's one kind of group size limit, above which things get less efficient, and more total energy has to be devoted to maintaining the structure.
If most of us can't support something that big, the optimum working group size is probably around a dozen or less.
I'm thinking "family, expandable to friend-with-shared-vision-and-productivity".
Wishing You a Worthwhile 2018